n international visionary entrepreneur, published musician, and bestselling author, Ayman Sawaf is one of the original creators of the discipline now known as Emotional Literacy and an early pioneer in Emotional Intelligence. His book Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Organizations, which he coauthored with Dr. Robert Cooper, introduced emotional intelligence in the business world. Ayman has spent the last 20 years building the evolutionary foundation for entirely new systems and industries that are transforming human potential by providing new maps to evolve our relationships with ourselves, our business, and our world. His latest book, Sacred Commerce: A Blueprint for a New Humanity, which he coauthored with his wife Rowan Gabrielle, focuses on evolving the business world one person at a time, emphasizing a system guided by spirituality. Ayman has influenced countless individuals, teachers, coaches, and business leaders worldwide. He believes network marketers are particularly well positioned to embrace the feminine and the sacred in business, thus opening the path towards emotional mastery, abundance creation, and conscious evolution.—J.G.
Tell us a little about your background. I was born into a Lebanese family and grew up in the Middle East, but enjoyed a multicultural upbringing in an international environment. I studied engineering and mathematics in the U.S., and after I graduated with my university degrees, I started my entrepreneurial career in the lighting business in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. I became very successful, I had two children, and my life seemed perfect. However, as I hit my late 20s everything started falling apart. I went through a divorce. I became depressed. I had a health crisis, and I thought, “That’s it. I wasted my life.” That led me to deciding to live differently and explore my emotions. Money and business had been such a strong part of my identity that I had never really paid attention to my feelings. A friend observed that this might be the cause of my problem. I was introduced to a book by Louise Hay called You Can Heal Your Life and started reading it. I realized there is a connection between emotions and belief systems and our external reality. I was an extremely chauvinistic* and mental person, categorizing emotions as a feminine energy and not part of my world.
One thing led to another. I met a teacher, read some books, and started my healing journey. I was astonished at how healing my emotions caused my body to heal. I said, “How come no one taught us this in school?” I had been to the best universities. I thought I was very smart, but realized I wasn’t. I saw how we needed to bring and showcase the value of emotions into our education system. I decided, “Let’s start with a new generation of kids who are emotionally smart!” I coined the term emotional literacy, which is the ABC—123 of our feelings—how to recognize them, acknowledge them as ours, how to express them, how to receive the messages they carry inside them. I created a media company in Los Angeles. We did four TV series. We released 28 books, the emotional literacy series for kids. The company is now called KidsEQ.com. For years I sent out emotional literacy newsletters to hundreds of thousands of people, including school teachers and university psychology departments. I launched a non-profit organization called F.E.E.L.—Foundation for Education in Emotional Literacy.
*Chauvinism: 1. zealous and aggressive patriotism or blind enthusiasm for military glory; 2. biased devotion to any group, attitude, or cause; 3. the denigration, disparagement, and patronization of either sex based on the belief that one sex is inferior to the other.